Renal function and isomers of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS): Isomers of C8 Health Project in China

Chemosphere. 2019 Mar;218:1042-1049. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.11.191. Epub 2018 Nov 28.


Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are widely-utilized synthetic chemicals commonly found in industrial and consumer products. Previous studies have examined associations between PFASs and renal function, yet the results are mixed. Moreover, evidence on the associations of isomers of PFASs with renal function in population from high polluted areas is scant. To help to address this data gap, we used high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to measure serum isomers of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), and other PFASs from 1612 adults residing in Shenyang, China, and characterized their associations with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Results showed that after adjusted for multiple confounding factors, most of the higher fluorinated PFASs, except for PFOA and PFDA, were negatively associated with eGFR and positively associated with CKD. Compared with linear PFOS (n-PFOS), branched PFOS isomers (Br-PFOS) were more strongly associated with eGFR (Br-PFOS; β = -1.22, 95%CI: 2.02, -0.42; p = 0.003 vs. n-PFOS; β = -0.16, 95%CI: 0.98, 0.65; p = 0.691) and CKD (Br-PFOS; OR = 1.27; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.58; p = 0.037 vs. n-PFOS; OR = 0.98; 95% CI: 0.80, 1.20; p = 0.834). In conclusion, branched PFOS isomers were negatively associated with renal function whereas their linear counterparts were not. Given widespread exposure to PFASs, potential nephrotoxic effects are of great public health concern, Furthermore, longitudinal research on the potential nephrotoxic effects of PFASs isomers will be necessary to more definitively assess the risk.

Keywords: Estimated glomerular filtration rate; Isomers of C8 health project; PFASs isomers; Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs); Renal function.

MeSH terms

  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / chemistry*
  • Caprylates / chemistry*
  • China
  • Environmental Pollutants / chemistry*
  • Fluorocarbons / chemistry*
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Function Tests


  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Caprylates
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons
  • perfluorooctanoic acid
  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid